L.A.’s Richest Man Ups the Ante in Fight Against Cancer

As owner of 5 percent of the Los Angeles Lakers, Patrick Soon-Shiong could walk into the locker room of the storied basketball franchise any time for a chat with stars like Kobe Bryant. But the richest man in Los Angeles chooses to sit with the rest of his team’s fans, reports Fox News.

Soon-Shiong, the slender Los Angles surgeon who built a fortune exceeding $7 billion as a biotechnology entrepreneur, is a South African émigré and son of a Chinese herbal doctor. He’s also a relative unknown in Los Angeles.

Recently, in Washington D.C., Soon-Shiong and his L.A.-based NantHealth unveiled a joint venture with Verizon, Intel, Blue Shield of California and others to create a nationwide system for doctors to share DNA and other data on cancer patients. It will enable doctors to do genetic analysis of a patient’s tumor in less than a minute—a job that now can take from eight to 10 weeks.

“It’s unconscionable that cancer patients get the wrong diagnosis 30 percent of the time and that it takes so long to treat them with appropriate drugs for their cancer,” said Soon-Shiong.

He created drugs to fight diabetes and breast cancer and then sold the companies that produced them for a combined $8.6 billion. In the four years since selling those companies, he quietly spent more than $400 million of his own money to build a national fiber optic network that would link cancer clinics throughout the country­—the groundwork for the health superhighway.

Court Rules On Patient’s Right To Die

Lee’s parents, Rev. Man Ho Lee and his wife, Jin Ah Lee after hearing the court’s decision.
Lee’s parents, Rev. Man Ho Lee and his wife, Jin Ah Lee after hearing the court’s decision.

A New York state appeals court ruled that a terminally ill woman who has been locked in a legal battle with her parents, has the right to die. Twenty-eight-year-old Grace Sung Eun Lee, who is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, expressed to doctors the desire to be taken off life support rather than live with the pain and suffering of her condition, unable to eat or breathe on her own. But her devoutly religious parents viewed the decision as suicide, previously attempted to block her request to die. The court however, ruled that Lee is capable of making her own end-of-life decisions, upholding a lower-court ruling. Her parents, Rev. Man Ho Lee, senior pastor of Antioch Missionary Church in Flushing, Queens, and his wife, Jin Ah Lee believe influence from doctors and their daughter’s medicated and depressed state render her unable to make a coherent decision.

Lee is paralyzed from the neck down and is being kept alive by a breathing machine. She was a financial manager at Bank of America and training for the New York City Marathon when she fell ill with a brainstem tumor in October 2011. But in early September, she suffered a seizure and was admitted to North Shore University Hospital in New York where doctors said she requested to be taken off life support.

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